Billboard Music Awards

Iron Maiden / March 14, 2008 / East Rutherford, N.J. (Izod Center)

It was as if Maiden finally got off their high horse and gave fans what they wanted. And fans certainly showed their appreciation -- the arena was sold out.

The last time Iron Maiden and this writer crossed paths, it wasn't particularly pretty. A stop at New York's Nassau Coliseum back in '06 resulted in a painfully indulgent set that saw the band playing their then-new album, "A Matter of Life and Death," in its entirety. Classics were limited to a mere handful, and at the end of the set.

But their current mini-tour (a prelude to a much longer jaunt later this year) was the complete opposite of the aforementioned performance. A set comprised entirely of classics was performed at New Jersey's Izod Center, with only a single track post-1988. It was as if Maiden finally got off their high horse and gave fans what they wanted. And fans certainly showed their appreciation -- the arena was sold out.

Perhaps the reason for this embracement of their past is the fact that Maiden's 1985 home video, "Live After Death," was recently issued as a double DVD set. In fact, the set list for the most part mirrored it (bassist Steve Harris was the only member spotted still holding onto Maiden's spandex past).

As with past tours, several large backdrops changed sporadically throughout the set to reflect specific songs being performed, such as one that showed three different images of their undead mascot, Eddie, and another with the bloody sword-wielding Eddie from "The Trooper" single, among others.

Maiden performed some tracks that have not been aired out in 20-25 years, including the opener "Moonchild" and the never-ending "Powerslave" epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (during which an image of an old/haunted sea vessel was seen on the backdrop, and dry ice engulfed the stage). Rounding out the set were all the expected classics, including a glorious opening one-two punch of "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight," as well as "Run to the Hills," "Wasted Years," and "Iron Maiden" (the latter of which saw a rather tall chap dressed as Eddie making an on-stage appearance).

Guitarist Janick Gers' preposterous Nigel Tufnel-worthy stage antics aside, let's give credit where credit is due -- Iron Maiden '08 sound as powerful and tight as ever.

Here Is Iron Maiden's set list:

Intro - Churchill's Speech
"Aces High"
"2 Minutes to Midnight"
"Revelations"
"The Trooper"
"Wasted Years"
"The Number of the Beast"
"Run to the Hills"
"Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
"Powerslave"
"Heaven Can Wait"
"Can I Play With Madness?"
"Fear of the Dark"
"Iron Maiden"
"Moonchild"
"The Clairvoyant"
"Hallowed Be Thy Name"